St Vincent and Grenadines v Curacao in Welhemstad (NACAR South R1)
Referee: Piet Veldhuizen (Netherlands)
Curacao is a small group of islands off the coast of Venezuela. Originally a Dutch colony and a vital link in old trade routes, Curacao is officially a ‘constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ according to Wikipedia.
Curacao began its test rugby history just last year with a tour of Barbados and St Lucia. They lost 8-15 to a Barbados XV and then 19-43 to St.Lucia.
St Vincent and Grenadines has a slightly longer test rugby history. My records show they played their first rugby test match in 2003 with two wins against neighbours St.Lucia. Two years later they lost to St Lucia in a World Cup qualifying preliminary game. In 2008 they again lost a World Cup qualifying preliminary, this time 7-47 to Mexico at home. In 2011 they were knocked out of the NACRA Championship first round by the British Virgin Islands. Last year they lost to Barbados twice in the NACRA Championship Round 1 and World Cup qualifying tournament.
NACRA is the governing body for rugby in North America and the Caribbean. The championship is divided into a north zone and a south zone. All the round 1 games for both zones will be played in January. Each winner of round 1 will go into the round 2 zones.`
The competition looks like this.
N1-19/01 Mexico v USA South in Atlanta
N2-26/01 Turks and Caicos Islands v Jamaica in Providenciales
N3-Winner N1 v Winner N2
Round 2-Round Robin N3 winner, Cayman Islands and Bermuda
S1-19/01 St Vincent and Grenadines v Curacao in Welhamstad
S2-26/01 St Lucia v British Virgin Islands in St Lucia
S3-Winner S1 v Winner S2
Round 2-Round Robin S3 winner. Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago
Final: North R2 winner v South R2 winner
These two teams have not met before in a 15’s rugby test match. St Vincent & Grenadines lost twice to Barbados last year whilst Curacao lost to a Barbados XV also last year. That tells me that St Vincent will be too strong for the local side.
Prediction: St Vincent and Grenadines by 25 points
St Vincent and Grenadines Squad
Thanks to Jacqueline De Freitas, President St Vincent and Grenadines Rugby Union.
Curacao Squad not available